I have worked for CDS for 19 years. Having completed vocational training and an oral and maxillofacial surgery senior house officer job, I had a year training post with Derbyshire CDS. I had applied for this job to try and conquer my fear of treating children! (it worked!). During that year I treated not only children but also adults with special needs and became particularly interested in adults with mental health and substance misuse issues. Having completed the year I headed off to ‘earn my fortune’ in GDS! After a few months I realised the error of my ways and contacted Derbyshire CDS asking if they had any jobs coming up in the future – not long after a colleague from CDS retired and I came back!
Having qualified from Bristol University as a dentist I took my Royal College MFDS exams a couple of years later. I completed various certifications relating to special care dentistry as part of my CPD and gained entry on the special care specialist list by a portfolio application in 2010 when the specialty was first created by the GDC. I feel the biggest skill needed in my job is communication, followed by patience, humour and the ability to think on your feet and to think outside the box – being able to do good quality dentistry in compromised situations and quickly and also the willingness to play any part needed in the team to get things done. There’s a good team at the local hospital – I could not do my job without our wonderful anaesthetic department at The Royal Derby Hospital.
I wanted to return to CDS from GDP so that I could work with adults with learning disabilities, substance misusers, and to work in prison. I love being able to make a difference – to make their mouth healthy, comfortable and give them a good dental experience.
A typical day for me? The first thing I do when I get to work is to make sure I have a coffee! With two young children I feel like I’ve done a full day’s work before I even step foot in the clinic. Next, I read my new emails and teams messages and write a list in my trusty notebook of everything I need to respond to / read in more detail. Then I look through the day list ahead. I chat to the dental nurse and receptionist about any issues or special cases we have booked in. We plan if we need the hoist, wheelchair tipper, denture work and plan equipment and materials needed for any AGP’s.
A clinical day could involve any variety of adult special care assessments, treatments or reviews. I may be in clinic or at a GA session, sedation clinic, out on domiciliary visits or working in the safe space outreach clinic. I love the variety!
Lunchtime for me would usually be a sandwich eaten whilst catching up on life admin – the online grocery shop, sorting the children’s school and social lives or a frustrating call to a call centre about the electricity bill! If I can, I catch up with messages to colleagues at this time too. I try to keep on top of messages between patients – and always keep an eye out in case anybody has an urgent query that can’t wait.
At the end of the day, I check my to do list and finish any outstanding tasks – then I write another list for home tasks for the evening – and one for the following workday too. My final tasks are to remember a: where I have hung my home clothes (there are options!) and b: where I have parked my car. I then enjoy listening to the radio on the drive home before a busy evening being Mummy!
I enjoy working as a team to help patients to have a clean, healthy and comfortable mouth. For example, seeing a patient through from toothache – to GA planning – to treating under GA and then reviewing a few weeks later and seeing the impact being pain free has had on them. I love the variety and never knowing what challenge will present itself next and working within a big team both in Derbyshire and across all of CDS we are able to share ideas, knowledge and skills. Working with so many likeminded individuals having so much experience and knowledge to draw on, and opportunities for self-development makes CDS a great place to work.